REDEVELOPMENT is the result of a three year collaboration [1971-1974] between the Resolution film group and a number of community groups struggling to save their home and neighborhoods from "urban renewal". In San Francisco, as in most other cities, "urban renewal" means destroying minority and working class neighborhoods and building lucrative luxury developments. As usual, the key government people have been bought and paid for by the big developers.
A series of short films on particular local problems were done by the community people themselves, with training and research help provided by Resolution. Then, for a two year period, these were used as an aid to local organizing efforts. The criticisms and suggestions of P.T.A.'s, labor groups, block clubs, and grass roots groups of all sorts served to sharpen our ideas and analysis. These films were then combined, with broader structuring materials, into the film Redevelopment.
Redevelopment is a "tool" not in the "here's how to fix it" sense, but rather as an aid to understanding local issues in the larger contexts of the political-economy of the city and a variety of community organizing strategies. The film has been used and enthusiastically received by community and tenants' groups all over the country. It has proven itself as an effective means of stimulating discussion in the neighborhood and the classroom.
"REDEVELOPMENT is virtually alone in the scope, complexity, and precise analysis it brings to the subject. It is an extremely important film that immediately transcends the local Redevelopment battles in San Francisco to make the necessary connections between urban growth and the expansion of monopoly capitalism... A model of community participation filmmaking three years in production, the film was scripted, videotaped, and edited with the help of Black, White, Asian, and Latino activists from San Francisco neighborhoods ripped apart by Redevelopment. The 200 people who work on the film didn't just "help": residents interviewed each other using portable videotape equipment, were trained in all aspects of production (some went on to make professional use of their skills), and structured large parts of the film... The consistent class analysis of these workers provides the structure ordering the vast amount of information and detail presented by the filmmakers.... Clearly dismissing the possibility of reformist solutions, Redevelopment is a concise and powerful analysis of poor-people removal in America's cities." - CINEASTE
"The film was made while the struggle was going on to provide those who were fighting the renewers and speculators with educational and organizing tools.... The city's elite reveal their callousness and greed with surprising frankness.... Because it shows how to fight the urban renewers, the film should be seen and made use of." - Morris Wright, GUARDIAN
"... an incisive examination of urban renewal and the social and political price of such major projects. One message of the film is that you can fight City Hall... a well argued film, REDEVELOPMENT is an important educational tool for those interested in the future of urban communities." - Bernard Weiner, San Francisco Chronicle
Redevelopment was produced by Andy Fahrenwald and Richard Smith in their group Resolution Film collective--the production arm of, initially, American Documentary Films and then San Francisco Newsreel. Bruce Schmiechen was another key member of the Resolution Group.
Andy Fahrenwald (1942-2013) was instrumental to the re-emergence of San Francisco Newsreel in the mid-1970s and oversaw the development and writing of its expanded catalog of some 148 films, and was involved in the production of several early Newsreel films. He co-produced Redevelopment, (doing much of the design, filming and editing work), organized screenings for the film in working class communities and helped people in those communities organize their own screenings. Andy also collaborated on the sound-track for the film with musician Barry Glick and members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Andy's banjo playing can be heard in the background of some key scenes.
Andy Fahrenwald was a community activist with a strong sense of social justice who put his heart into this project. This film was uploaded here in his honor.